OSWEGO, NY (August 4, 2013) – Oswego Speedway’s Mr. Supermodified event has been known for many hair raising moments in its previous 26 years, and Saturday night’s 27th annual running presented by POMCO Group certainly had its share with five-time Speedway champion Otto Sitterly outlasting the competition to claim the $10,000 top prize.
Sitterly was determined to claim his second career Mr. Supermodified title despite a flurry of adversity in his way.
A fast paced Brian Sweeney, several bouts with lapped traffic, and even a first lap pileup in the Speedway’s fourth turn would not deter Sitterly as he once again made a three wide move down the back straight to steal the lead from Sweeney on lap 44 of 75 for this 27th career victory at Oswego, his third this season, and second consecutive in 2013.
Sweeney would stick with Sitterly for several laps after losing the lead, but lapped traffic would again play in Sitterly’s favor, as the Nicotra Racing pilot pulled away leaving Sweeney to settle to for the runner-up spot, his best effort of the season.
Jerry Curran, Dan Connors Jr., and Tim Jedrzejek would finish the event in the front five positions.
Sitterly commented on the fourth turn pile-up on the first lap, which resulted in the car returning to pit lane for a new nose wing.
“I didn’t know what to think at first, I didn’t really know how bad the damage was,” said Sitterly, in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane. “I got out of the car and looked around and it was pretty much just a bent up nose wing, and a little bit of bent sheet metal.”
Sitterly would head to pit lane to make repairs and then began to slice his way through the field on his charge back to the front.
“The car was really pretty loose getting into the turn early and I had to put a lot of front brake in the car,” said Sitterly. “Actually, the car just kept getting tighter as we went so I ended up having to put rear brake back to it as we went along.”
Once Sweeney took the lead from Connors at lap 35, it looked as though the No. 3 was well on his way to his first career victory, and Sitterly was a touch concerned watching the latest Hawk Chassis to come out of Joe Hawksby Jr’s shop running in clean air.
That was until the duo drove up to lapped traffic.
“I was really pretty concerned with Sweeney running out there in the open track, because the new Hawk cars are really fast on their own, so I did not want him to get away from me,” said Sitterly. “You know, Brian has been out for a number of years, he is doing a heck of a job, but to go through lapped traffic like that, I knew that was where I had to get him.”
Pat Lavery, Joe Gosek, Dave Danzer, Dave Gruel, and Jeff Abold would finish the 75-lap event in the top ten spots after 75 circuits.
Sweeney and Connors led the 25-car Mr. Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s New York Pizzeria green flag on Saturday with Connors gaining the early advantage in the No. 01.
Connors, Sweeney, Tim Devendorf, Brandon Bellinger, and Tim Snyder would quickly file into the top five spots with the front four never having won a main event at Oswego in the past.
However, as the field drove into the third turn looking to complete the second lap, the Bellinger No. 02 seemed to stumble slightly causing an accordion effect throughout the field which sent Snyder into the outside wall with Bellinger and Michael Muldoon turning around blocking the entire Speedway.
From there over 20 cars would become involved in some way shape or form, resulting in the red flag being displayed over the field.
Despite the massive parking lot in the fourth turn, only four cars would not be able to make the call back to the restart.
Ray Graham, Keith Shampine, Michael Barnes, and Tim Snyder would all take on significant front end damage and be done for the evening.
Graham was in action for the first time this season in Novelis Supermodified competition subbing for his son Kody in the No. 21, which was the former No. 90 from one year ago.
Snyder appeared to make the most significant impact with the outside wall, but it was Jedrzejek in the Murphy No. 60 that took the wildest ride.
As Jedrzejek tried to move to the high side of the Speedway to drive around the developing accident, a car came high clipping the machine and sending it air born up and over at least two racecars, eventually landing on the back of the Gruel No. 50.
Miraculously, during the lengthy delay to clean the cars off the Speedway, both Jedrzejek and Gruel were able to make repairs and return to the Speedway.
In all Lavery, Bellinger, Gosek, Muldoon, Gruel, Jedrzejek, Danzer, and Sitterly would head to pit lane for repairs and rejoin the field for the lap two restart.
As the field came back to green it would be Connors, Sweeney, Devendorf, Davey Hamilton, Curran, Bobby Haynes, Abold, Lou LeVea Jr., Lou LeVea Sr., and Tony Steiner in the front ten spots.
Before the field could complete another lap though, the Bellinger No. 02 slowed in the fourth corner bringing out the caution, apparently still feeling the effects from the previous incident.
Once the field was able to get going it would be Connors and Sweeney checking away from the pack ahead of Devendorf, Hamilton, and Curran.
But, just as the field seemed to have built some rhythm, Muldoon would tag the outside third turn wall in the No. 51 as he looked around the Steiner No. 07. Muldoon would again head to the pits for repairs and did rejoin the field, eventually pulling in on lap 23 for an 18th place finish.
On lap eight the field again took the green with Connors and Sweeney once again having their own fight at the front of the field. Further back Hamilton appeared to be biding his time after once again turning the fastest laps of the day earlier in the afternoon.
Then suddenly, as Hamilton’s No. 6 was working Devendorf for third, the No. 6 swapped ends into the third corner forcing another caution on the Speedway at lap 18. Hamilton quickly jumped out of the car as it leaked fluids on the Speedway, with something in the engine compartment apparently letting go on his Nicotra Racing ride.
At this point, the amount of caution laps already run and the clean-up required in the third corner, forced officials to go red for refueling.
With Hamilton now out of the picture Connors would lead Sweeney, Devendorf, Curran, Haynes, Abold, Gosek, Sitterly, Lavery, and LeVea Jr. to the stripe.
Just like in previous weeks, it looked as though Gosek and Sitterly would hook up and work through the field. After working around the Abold machine on the restart to move to sixth and seventh, Gosek began to slow and show signs of trouble.
Sitterly drove right around the No. 00 to move to fifth on lap 26 and quickly began to draw in on Curran and Devendorf ahead of him.
Gosek would circle the Speedway as slow as 20 seconds for several laps before eventually picking up the pace again and re-joining the fight.
With Sitterly now joining a five car battle for the lead around lap 33, Sweeney began to show signs of pouncing on the Connors No. 01 for the lead.
After stalking Connors for several laps, Sweenety finally found the room he needed in lapped traffic on lap 35.
Sweeney would go on to make a bold three-wide move to the low side down the back stretch in lapped traffic to take the point, and immediately check away to nearly a two second advantage on the rest of the field.
Sweeney’s surge to the front increased the urgency level for Sitterly, and in two consecutive laps the No. 7 slipped under Curran and then Connors into the first turn to claim the runner-up position with his sights now set on the rear deck of the No. 3.
Just as Sitterly pulled to second, Sweeney caught lapped traffic including the No. 23 of Clayton Brewer III. For two circuits Sweeney tried to make a move around the slower lapped car, but was unable to do so, allowing Sitterly to erase a two second deficit in a matter of no time at all.
Then at lap 44 coming out of the second turn, Speedway onlookers would see yet another wild three-wide move.
This time it would be Sitterly pulling low down the back straight, just as Sweeney did nine laps prior, taking the top spot to speed into the lead over Sweeney.
By lap 50 it looked as though Sitterly would be able to run away and hide, but the No. 7 would hit traffic of its own, allowing the Sweeney machine to hang with Sitterly for several laps.
But again, the master of traffic, Sitterly was able to clear the slower cars with ease drawing out to a comfortable margin over the final 20 laps to go on and claim his second career Mr. Novelis Supermodified triumph.
While the win was the second in the historic event for Sitterly, it marked the first time a Nicotra Racing machine has won the Mr. Supermodified event since their inception in 2007.
While Sitterly and Sweeney drove away up front Curran would manage to slip by Connors for third place and a fine run in the No. 24.
Tim Jedrzejek, despite flying through the air on lap 1, was also able to put on a nice drive, going by Pat Lavery on lap 62 for another top five finish in the No. 60.
Brian Sweeney returned to Supermodified racing after a ten year absence with the goal of claiming his first career Supermodified win, and he came close on Saturday.
“About five weeks ago we lost all forward bite in the car,” said Sweeney. “We have it back and now that we have actually completed two features this season, which isn’t very impressive, we have more information to work with and I think we’ll be pretty good the rest of the season.”
Like Sweeney, Jerry Curran has had an up and down season, but he was all smiles with a podium finish in the 27th annual Mr. Novelis Supermodified.
“The car was good, it was neutral, and would stay on the bottom pretty good,” said Curran. “But, whenever we would try and push a little harder she would get loose on me. So, we just tried to ride it out and avoid the accidents; we got away with it this week.”
A total of 26 Novelis Supermodifieds entered the pit area Saturday night, but only 25 took the green as Shaun Gosselin blew the engine in the No. 26 during hot laps. Gosselin entered the night third in the standings, but will take a major hit moving forward.
Devendorf, Connors, and Bellinger would go on to claim Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race challenge victories on Saturday.
Curran would collect the Lighthouse Lane Hard Charger Award, while Sweeney would be the Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer.
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com or LIKE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. Those interested in Speedway video programming online can subscribe to the Speedway’s YouTube Channel, ‘OswegoSpeedwayOnline’.
To purchase tickets for the 2013 racing season call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013
27th annual $10,000 Mr. Novelis Supermodified/22nd annual Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS
Feature (75-laps): 1. 7-Otto Sitterly, 2. 3-Brian Sweeney, 3. 24-Jerry Curran, 4. 01-Dan Connors Jr, 5. 60-Timmy Jedrzejek, 6. 22-Pat Lavery, 7. 00-Joe Gosek, 8. 52-Dave Danzer, 9. 50-David Gruel, 10. 05-Jeff Abold, 11. 07-Tony Steiner, 12. 23-Clayton Brewer III, 13. 5-Tim Devendorf, 14. 66-Lou LeVea Sr, 15. 83-Lou LeVea Jr, 16. 56-Hal LaTulip, 17. 44-Bobby Haynes Jr, 18. 51-Michael Muldoon, 19. 6-Davey Hamilton, 20. 14-Joe Chillemi, 21. 02-Brandon Bellinger, 22. 0-Tim Snyder, 23. 99-Michael Barnes, 24. 55-Keith Shampine, 25. 21-Ray Graham
Lighthouse Lanes ‘Hard Charger’: Jerry Curran
Lighthouse Lanes ‘Up & Comer’: Brian Sweeney
1st Heat (12-laps/All Qualify): 1. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 2. 3 – Brian Sweeney, 3. 52 – Dave Danzer, 4. 50 – Dave Gruel, 5. 21 – Ray Graham, 6. 6 – Davey Hamilton, 7. 05 – Jeff Abold, 8. 66 – Lou LeVea Sr., 9. 56 – Hal LaTulip
2nd Heat (12-laps/All Qualify): 1. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 2. 51 – Michael Muldoon, 3. 99 – Michael Barnes, 4. 55 – Keith Shampine, 5. 60 – Tim Jedrzejek, 6. 00 – Joe Gosek, 7. 83 – Lou LeVea Jr., 8. 23 – Clayton Brewer III
3rd Heat (12-laps/All Qualify): 1. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 2. 0 – Tim Snyder, 3. 22 – Pat Lavery, 4. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 5. 24 – Jerry Curran, 6. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 7. 07 – Tony Steiner, 8. 14 – Joe Chillemi
PHOTO CREDIT: Bill Taylor